Tirupoonduruthi – Sri Pushpavaneswarar Temple

Tirupoonduruthi is located close to Thiruvaiyaaru and near Tanjore.

 

Praised in the Thevaram hymns of Tirunavukkarasar, Arunagirinathar and Sri Ramalinga Adigal. The Lord is not visible to celestial beings, Iyakkas, Vichadharas and others easily.He is in sacred PoonduruthiUnder whose care and feet, we are. – Tirunavukkarasar.Devas, Iyakkas, Vichadaras are some group living in the upper world according to our scriptures.

Lord Shiva graces in the temple as a swayambumurthy. Of the Sapthasthana (seven sacred places) this is the sixth. The place also has a Mutt established by Saint Tirunavukkarasar.

Indira, Lord Vishnu, Mahalashmi, Sun and Sage Kashyapa worshipped Lord Shiva in this temple. Indira got cured of his illness by making a flower round in the temple. Two Vinjayas (a community in the upper world) cursed to be eagles got back their real personality worshipping in this temple.

Places between rivers are called Thuruthy. This place is in between Cauvery and Kudamurutti rivers. There is one such place (Kuthalam) near Mayiladuthurai. Saint Tirunavukkarasar did his services called Uzhavarathondu here. He was holding a tool in his hand called Uzhavaram with which he was removing the thorny bushes on the way to Shiva temples to make the path comfortable for the devotees to walk safely.

When Saint Gnanasambandar was hesitant to step on the soil serviced by Tirunavukkarasar, Lord Shiva asked His Nandhi to move away to give darshan to him, according to the sthalapuranas. It is here Tirunavukkarasar carried the palanquin of Ganasambandar. This place is named Sambandar Medu near Tiruvalmpozhil and Vellamparambur. There is also a mutt established by Tirunavukkarasar a little far away opposite the temple.

This is a vast place divided as west and east. The temple is in the western division.

According to scriptures, Cauvery was born from the Kamandala water (pot carried by rishis) of Sage Agasthya when a crow put it upside down. It flowed eastward through Senthalai, Andili, Vellambiyur, Arcot, Kandiyur, Tiruchotruthurai, Tirupazhanam, Tiruvaiyaru, Tiruneithanam and up to Sathanur and became stagnant as a sea. Places in between as Konerirajapuram, Karuppur, Nadukaveri, Tiruvalampozhil, Tirupoonturuthi were submerged.

Indira, king of Devas in the celestial world, worshipped Lord Iyarappar, took the Cauvery further east and made places fertile. On this run, Kandiyur was the first on the way. Then came poonthuruthi with river sand. There was banyan tree on the western side at a higher level. This place was soft as flower (poo in Tamil), the place came to be known as Poonthuruthi. This is mentioned in Thevaram hymns. Places between rivers are called Thuruthi. There is also such a thuruthi called Kuthalam in the eastern side.

It is a popular story that Indira was cursed by Rishi Gautama to have 1000 ugly signs on his body for his immoral desires. While he was passing through many Shiva shrines for remedy from the curse, he came here, worshipped Lord Shiva with flowers and got the total relief. As Indira worshipped the Lord with fragrant flowers, the place was so named, according to another story.

That Lord Vishnu and Sri Mahalakshmi worshipped here is evidenced by the sculptures in the Tower built during the rule of Naickers. Other stories relating to the name of Poonthuruthi is that Poomagal worshipped here, Nandideva supplied Flowers (Poo) for Lord’s wedding and that many places in the Chola region were covered with dense flower gardens.

This was later translated as Pushpavanam (Pushpa – poo, vanam –dense gardens) in the year 1782 during the rule of Thanjavur Tulasi Maharaja. Many stories are in rounds regarding the name of the place. It is in this sacred place Tirunavukkarasar bore on his shoulders the palanquin of Gnanasambandar. Also he established a mutt here.

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